Tailgating before college football games is a cherished tradition that brings together tens of thousands of fans with burgers, brats, beer, and camaraderie. For example, the dad of J.J. McCarthy, the star quarterback of No. 2 Michigan, gets excited about football season because of tailgating. For many years, alcohol was only served outside stadiums. However, selling beer and wine inside college football stadiums has become more common over the past decade. The University of Wisconsin will begin selling alcohol at basketball and hockey games this season and will consider adding football games if fan experience increases.
Selling alcohol in football stadiums has become much more common since the late 2010s. The AP survey found that 19 Power Five conference schools began selling alcohol during football games in 2019, while another 16 schools including Michigan State, Kentucky, and Stanford, started selling booze in football stadiums this year. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation in July lifting the state’s ban on alcohol sold at college sporting events, prompting Michigan State to follow suit fairly quickly.
Then, there’s the University of North Carolina, which is in its fifth season of selling alcohol like Twisted Tea, Modelo, and White Claw. According to a beer drinker at a recent Tar Heels game, people may still prefer tailgating over buying alcohol at the game. From another perspective, the approval to apply for liquor licenses at the University of Michigan’s football, basketball, and hockey venues sparked disagreements. While Regent Paul Brown didn’t support the idea, the sales of alcohol at North Carolina games have proven to be a successful revenue stream.
In conclusion, college football games have turned into a full amusement experience with the addition of alcohol sales inside the stadiums. However, fans will continue to enjoy tailgating before the games, where they can purchase alcohol at more affordable prices, as well as the sense of community that comes with these pre-game gatherings. As with any new practice, the acceptance of alcohol sales may take time to catch on and become part of game day entertainment.